Building infrastructure

How satisfied are people in your area?

Our new Place Satisfaction Index maps how people feel about local amenities in every constituency in the UK

26 Apr 2021

Meet our experts

Nigel Wilson

Group Chief Executive

At Legal & General we invest the money from the pension funds that we manage into real assets like housing, retail centres, transport infrastructure and clean energy that can provide long-term returns for pensioners while helping to build a better, fairer society.

To help us do this we’ve worked with cross-party think tank Demos to launch a new Place Satisfaction Index, which will help to identify what kind of investment is needed in constituencies across the country. The Index maps people’s everyday priorities against what is actually on offer in their communities. By recording their views on things like housing, transport, internet access and retail provision, it will guide our own investments and provide important insights to Government as it tackles regional inequality.

During December 2020, we surveyed a nationally representative sample of 20,000 people. We found that places in London, Scotland, the West Midlands and the North of England rate the highest on the Index as having the country’s most satisfied residents. The more built-up commuter and ‘affluent’ towns see the highest levels of satisfaction, while rural areas, on the other hand, typically see poorer satisfaction, with lack of quality transport a particular problem.

The new Index and associated report, Everyday Places, are part of an ongoing programme of research aimed at helping us understand the investment that communities need. Demos also produced the Post Pandemic Places report on our behalf, which revealed that during lockdown people had rekindled a relationship with their local area and amenities. In addition, we’ve also established our Rebuilding Britain Index to measure progress in levelling up the UK economy on a quarterly basis.

Building back better

Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General, says: “COVID-19 has driven major change to people’s lives and global economies. Our health, happiness and priorities around what we need from our communities have been challenged. To ensure inequality is not exacerbated; we need insight at a national, regional and local level.

“Much like our recent Rebuilding Britain Index, this work is another important piece of a complex jigsaw which helps us understand how people would like to see their communities – and especially their built environment and amenities – develop in future. New evidence-based thinking around retail, suburbs and green space is very valuable if we are to successfully build back better and move all local satisfaction levels upwards. 

Legal & General’s commitment to inclusive capitalism means we have already invested over £1.5bn since the start of the pandemic to drive forward change in regional economies

Nigel Wilson

CEO

Legal & General

“Legal & General’s commitment to inclusive capitalism means we have already invested over £1.5bn since the start of the pandemic to drive forward change in regional economies, with a focus on reviving town centres and delivering quality affordable housing, transport and digital infrastructure, whilst mitigating climate change.”

Drilling down

The Place Satisfaction Index shows that when we think about investing in amenities to strengthen the relationship between people and place, priorities are not the same everywhere. More than half the population live in suburban settings and the Index has revealed that town and city suburbs have more in common with each other than they do with their own urban centres. Residents tend to be slightly older than the national average, place a high priority on parks and green spaces and cite ‘good local shops’ as the issue that most needs addressing in their area.

In rural Britain, where the population is also older than the national average, people value fresh air and nature highly but unlike the rest of the country they say it is transport, rather than shops, that requires the most urgent improvement.

The urban population is younger and more likely to be from an ethnic minority than people living elsewhere. They have a wider range of leisure interests and put a greater emphasis on activity. They are also more likely to be in work and to value workspaces for entrepreneurs, local desk space and home offices. There is unmet demand for better housing both at the top and bottom of the market in these areas.

But while these general observations are helpful, we have further focused on satisfaction scores for individual areas. The constituencies that ranked in the top five in our index are:

  1. Hackney North & Stoke Newington
  2. Islington North
  3. Islington South and Finsbury
  4. Hackney South and Shoreditch
  5. Streatham

The constituencies that ranked in the bottom five of the index are:

  1. Sittingbourne and Sheppey
  2. Ealing North
  3. Hemsworth
  4. North East Cambridgeshire
  5. Gravesham

Together with Demos we have now launched a website that provides data on satisfaction for every UK constituency, and the elements of place that matter most to local people.